IKEA: Let’s assemble a better future

  • MU Consumer call with Alpaslan Deliloglu

By Florian Schmitz

The latest United Nations Global Compact Study shows, that 98% of CEOs worldwide perceive sustainability as their key challenge – Alpaslan Deliloglu, CEO and CSO of IKEA Austria is definitely one of them. Joining the MU Consumer Call on January 16th, Alpaslan shared IKEA’s ambitious plan: How to build a sustainable and successful business practice.

Alpaslan Deliloglu studied international relations, politics, and economics at the University of Kirikkale (Turkey) with the aim of making the world a little better. Since joining IKEA as Commercial Director in Turkey, establishing new business areas was and still is an important part of Alpaslan’s career. Since 2019, Alpaslan Deliloglu is CEO and CSO of IKEA in Austria. He also has extremely ambitious and innovative plans for Austria: one of his goals is to bring about a change in awareness when it comes to sustainability.

In the first part of his keynote, Alpaslan highlighted that we are the last generation to be able to affect global warming. That is why IKEA is taking charge. As a father, there is also a personal element in his motivation to make a difference beyond the business case of sustainability. Already in the late 90s, IKEA introduced the IWAY: a production standard in which they ensured that people and the environment were protected during the production process. In 2016, IKEA took the next step, launching its people- and planet-positive strategy. This strategy focuses on identifying and tackling the greatest challenges of our time: climate change, unsustainable consumption, and inequality. IKEA believes as a global player they are in a unique position to drive positive change.

Accordingly, IKEA has set clear climate goals to be reached by 2030 as part of their People & Planet Positive Strategy:

  • They want to enable 1 billion people to live better everyday lives within the boundaries of the planet
  • IKEA wants to become climate positive and generate resources while growing their business
  • They want to create a positive social impact across the IKEA value chain

In the second part, Alpaslan shared how IKEA wants to reach these goals and what they are already doing today. The initiatives range from firstly a push towards becoming a fully circular company through the ‘giving furniture a second life’ initiative. Secondly, to use 100% renewable or recyclable materials in products and packaging. Further, IKEA is rethinking their perception of mobility both when it comes to emission-free mobility as well as the location of the stores. Summing up, IKEA wants to help their customers to make their daily choices more sustainable: for example, their famous meatballs are also offered in a plant-based version. This version is even cheaper.


We took away from the keynote that for IKEA, sustainability is both really at the core of the business and it is perceived as a leadership challenge. Accordingly, all Country Managers at IKEA are Chief Sustainability Officers as well and are measured by his/hers countries' progress to become more sustainable. This means that the CEO is directly responsible for the transformation and the results related to ESG, SDGs, SBTi etc. IKEA leaders need to be value driven in their approach to developing business. As a leader, Alpaslan stresses the importance to make sustainability an everyday challenge for employees on all levels as well as for customers. And it is about communication – IKEA wants to be fully transparent about their efforts, publishing both a global and local sustainability report. Which they will continue to update.

MU Consumer Call

The MU Consumer call gives a platform to discuss recent developments, trends, opportunities, and transformation cases within Consumer Goods & Retail. It is an opportunity to broaden the horizon and to connect through the different sub-sectors of our industry on an international level. Sustainability has been a key topic for the past years, which is why we hosted this call together with the MU Sustainability Practice.

If you are interested in the MU Consumer Call and you want to use the opportunity to present your best practice case to a broader international audience, please reach out to your trusted MU consultant or directly to Florian Schmitz, Practice Lead MU Consumer Practice.